Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
First of all, this morning’s dump requires some boat music.
Sure, the Celtics were winning, but Stevens didn’t always like the way they were doing it. He pointed out their weak offense, which dropped into the bottom third of the NBA rankings, and their habit of finding double-digit deficits, which grew into more of an issue over the last week or two. When the Celtics finally lost Wednesday night, Stevens called the 16-game streak “a little bit of a mirage.”
He should be happier with Friday night’s win. After falling for the first time in more than a month, the Celtics snapped back to smack the Orlando Magic, 118-103.
Stevens hasn’t always liked his team’s ball movement; well, the Celtics racked up 27 assists against Orlando, including 21 before halftime. He hasn’t always appreciated his team’s starts; well, the Celtics opened a two-touchdown lead during the first quarter then pushed it out to 26 points by halftime.
Kyrie Irving scored 30 points more easily than that type of thing should happen, Al Horford matched his career high with 10 assists, and Terry Rozier broke out of a recent shooting slump to strike for a career-high 23 points off the bench. Irving and Horford both sat out the entire fourth quarter after helping the Celtics seize a 30-point lead.
I didn’t expect the Celtics to bounce back like this. They got healthy in a hurry against the Magic. Just about everything that didn’t go right over the last half of the winning streak went great last night (except for Marcus Smart’s shooting which is still, I mean, what?)
If this is how the Celtics are going to come out after losses the rest of the season, it’s going to be a pretty memorable year for a team that wasn’t supposed to be much better than last year’s before they lost Haward five minutes into the opener.
Also, you should really treat yourself to the Warren Zevon cover of ‘Back in the High Life Again’.
Page 2: Where Jaylen Brown is going to try to make it tonight
Brown’s friend Trevin Steede died Nov. 15. Brown played the next day against the Warriors and scored a team-high 22 points in the Celtics’ come-from-behind victory. After traveling on his own to Atlanta the next day to be with friends and family, Brown rejoined the team for its game against the Hawks and scored a career-high 27 points.
Brown hadn’t spoken with reporters since after the Warriors game but talked Friday about his difficult week.
“I’m doing the best I can. I think basketball has been a great outlet for me, my family, my friend’s family,” Brown said. “Just doing the best we can, each and every day.”
Brown said it was his “intention to make it” to Indiana on Saturday, but also noted that Celtics coach Brad Stevens has given him the OK to miss the game if he cannot make it from Georgia.
“I think Brad has been really great in this process,” Brown said. “Not even just somebody to talk to, also just allowing you to deal with what’s best, my family, and [Steede’s] family, so everybody can deal with it. He’s been great. We’ll see how it goes, and hopefully I’ll be able to make it [to Indiana].”
“I think I’m going to start a foundation in my friend’s name in the future, going from there,” Brown said Friday night after beating the Orlando Magic, 118-103. “Try to help people so maybe you could save the next kid.”
Jaylen singlehandedly kept the Celtics winning streak going over the weekend. He found a new level to his game the day after Steede died. Maybe he makes it to Indiana for the game tonight, maybe he doesn’t. Maybe he gets there and starts, maybe he comes off the bench; it doesn’t really matter, it’s an unimportant game at the tail-end of November.
There will be people that, if Brown misses the game, will criticize him, especially so if the Celtics lose. These are people who need to reevaluate what is important to them.
Finally: ESPN’s headline writer goes for the clicks and IT is watching
Thomas in 2016-’17 (165 minutes): 49.1 points, 3.7 assists, 48.1% FG, 40.0% 3PT, 90.4% FT
Irving in 2017-’18 (40 minutes): 58.5 points, 9.0 assists, 61.5% FG, 30.8% 3PT, 81.3% FT
IT’s right. Kyrie’s ‘winning time’ stats would be remarkable–if we all hadn’t spent last season watching what was arguably a more amazing performance on a regular basis.
This is about as good a time as any to observe that if Boston hadn’t traded IT for Irving, they would be without the services of the ‘King in the Fourth’ and Gordon Hayward right now, and, I’m going to guess, a much less impressive record.
Nothing at all against IT; he can be a great guy even if he isn’t playing for the Celtics, and you can bet that Jaylen Brown learned how to carry himself through his tragedy by watching IT last May.
Of course, there will also be Celtics fans who rag on IT for commenting on that article. These are also people who need to reevaluate what is important to them.
The rest of the links
Boston Herald: Bulpett: Jaylen Brown to attend friend’s funeral today; questionable for Indiana game | Celtics respond for end of winning streak by getting right back to winning, 118-103, against Orlando Magic | Celtics notebook: Terry Rozier busts out with 23 points off bench
NBC Sports Boston: Black Friday bounce-back